Ecumenical Patriarch Urges Patriarch of Jerusalem Not to Persist on Holding Synaxis

The National Herald

From the meeting of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Vladimir Putin in November in Moscow. (Photo provide by

CONSTANTINOPLE -  His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a strong letter to Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem regarding his “initiative” to invite the primates of the Orthodox Churches around the World for consultation in Amman, Jordan “on preserving unity in the Eucharistic communion of the Orthodox Church.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his surprise that the letter sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos was for the first time written in English and not in Greek, as is common in the correspondence between them. It should be noted here that Greek for centuries Greek is the official language for correspondence among the Patriarchates.

It is also noted that only the Ecumenical Patriarch has the right and the privilege to call a Synaxis, or a Synod, of the primates of the local Orthodox Churches around the World.

Patriarch Bartholomew wrote to Theophilos among other things that “to begin with, we are surprised, not pleasantly, by the fact that for the first time in the centuries-long history of the two Patriarchates, the ‘Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem’ corresponds with the Ecumenical Patriarch in a foreign language and not our mother tongue, as if he has suddenly stopped feeling consanguineous and that he belongs in the same historic and suffering Nation…What has led your Beatitude to send us this other than honorable circular letter in English instead of following the centuries-old standard correspondence between our Churches?”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew then reminded Patriarch Theophilos of who it is who presides over the Orthodox Primates and who has the right to convene a Pan-Orthodox meeting (Synod).

He wrote, “It is needless to remind you of the position your Patriarchate holds in the rank of the Diptychs of the Most Holy Orthodox Church, as well as the fact that, in the canonical order, which has always and until now been respected by all Orthodox Churches, the Pan-Orthodox Synods of the Primates have been always summoned by the Ecumenical Patriarch, who presides over these Synods. What kind of unity does your initiative want to serve, if the First of the Orthodox Primates in rank is absent from the Synod you propose?”

Finally, after stressing that the Eucharistic communion between the Churches was never interrupted, with the exception of the Church of Moscow, he called on Patriarch Theophilos to recall this “non-canonical initiative that serves foreign purposes and undermines the Ecumenical Throne.”

It is reminded that Patriarch Theophilos traveled to Moscow at the end of November to be honored with the Patriarch Alexios award. While in Moscow the met with President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow. The next day Theophilos announced that he was going to convene a Synaxis of the Prelates of the Orthodox Churches in Jordan to discuss the unity of the Church. Theophilos has yet to recognize the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Archbishops Ieonymos of Athens and All Greece and also Chrysostomos of Cyprus announced that are not going to attend any Synaxis convened by Patriarch Theophilos.